Writing the Opening Paragraph

The first paragraph should always:

  • State your reason for writing and identify the position for which you are applying.
  • Include a statement about why the position interests you and why you’re qualified for it.

The first paragraph might also indicate how you learned of the position. If someone known to the reader referred you, or if you’ve already spoken to the person to whom you’re writing, include this information as early in the paragraph as possible.

Sample first paragraph:

Dear Ms. Turnquist:

I will be graduating from Wellesley College in May 2011 and am writing to apply for the Save America’s Treasures fellowship at Orchard House for the 2011-12 academic year. This fellowship combines my passion for American history with my research on American female authors. My studies, along with my wide-ranging experience in museums, historical houses, and living museums, make me a strong candidate for the position.